• Published 17th Nov 2014
  • 13,392 Views, 5,574 Comments

Crystal's Wishes - Crystal Wishes



Crystal Wishes thought she was content just writing about ponies falling in love. While her career takes off, her love life is somewhat... lacking. Can she be happy living vicariously through her stories or will she find her own happily ever after?

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The Little Things

Crystal nibbled on the feathered tip of her quill, one brow furrowed and the other raised. She gazed at the blank parchment sitting on the floor. There were several balled up sheets scattered around her pillow and just as a few words were written on the paper, she groaned, balled the attempt up, and added it to the haphazard pile.

"Somewhere, a paper manufacturer is very happy right now," Velvet said, sitting across from her.

Crystal rolled her eyes. "Well, I might have an easier time with this if you weren't staring so intently. It's exceedingly off-putting."

Velvet swatted at one of the paper balls, then batted it between her front hooves. "I can't help it! I've never gotten to see you get all into your writing groove. You always do it in your bedroom or while I'm away."

"Perhaps there's a reason for that," Crystal muttered and tried to hide her grin by looking down.

"Whatever!" Velvet stuck out her tongue. "Honestly, I'm just really eager to see what you write."

Crystal's smile fell into a somber frown. "Why? I told you what happened the day it happened." She glanced up, then back at the new blank sheet.

"Why?" Velvet hummed a moment before she shrugged. "You talked about what Runic did. I know all about the potions, but you really haven't ever talked about what you did."

"I threw potions," she stated flatly.

Velvet sputtered. "Well, pff, d'uh!" She dropped her elbows to the floor and her chin onto her hooves. "How did you feel? What happened before the potions? What about after? What abou—"

The hair on Crystal's chest and around her shoulders bristled as she jerked her head up and snapped, "I don't want to talk about any of that!" She winced at the volume of her voice and lowered it to mutter, "No pony is interested in how I felt."

Velvet blinked a few times. "Obviously, one pony is, 'cause I'm interested. I was scared and I fled. Pretty much every pony around me fled, too. Then we just hid and that was it for us. But you fought them, Crystal. That's pretty interesting, at least to me..."

Before Crystal could respond, somepony knocked on their door and Velvet's hoof flew the short distance from her chin to her nose.

"Cheater," Crystal hissed with a smile and stood up. She took her time walking to the door, stretching out each of her sore legs, then opened it. "Oh! Horsey! ... Horsey?"

"I'm sorry," Horsey said, panting, her magic flickering as it barely kept an overnight bag aloft. "Things got out of hoof at the restaurant, but I got here as quickly as I could!"

Crystal blinked. "Huh?"

Horsey looked at her, past her, then back at her. "Um, I'm sorry, is this the right place? Because you don't seem nearly as lov—"

Crystal heard a distinct pssst sound behind her and she turned her head to see Velvet standing there, smiling exaggeratedly wide. Just as she started to turn her attention back to Horsey, she saw Velvet quickly shaking her head.

Horsey furrowed her brow. "What?" She glanced between them, then groaned and rolled her eyes. "Did something happen already?"

"Ix-nay on the alk-tay!" Velvet growled out while putting a foreleg around Crystal's neck and laughing. "It's so good to see you, Horsey! Why don't you come in while Crystal makes some tea?"

Horsey sighed as she brought her bag and herself into the condo. "No, seriously, what happened? What was suddenly wrong with this stallion?"

"Oh my Celestia, Horsey, it's not what you—"

Crystal giggled. "I think I get it." She shrugged off Velvet's leg. "Velvet wrote a letter saying that I found my special somepony?"

"Uh-huh," Horsey replied.

"And you rushed out here to celebrate and meet him and all that?"

"Yup."

Crystal walked to the kitchen. "I'll make some tea, then. It's a bit of a story."

---

Horsey kept her gaze firmly fixated on her untouched cup of tea, only a few lingering wisps of steam rising from it. She sighed and shook her head. "I'm so sorry for... well, for assuming what I did." She glanced up at her. "You've just been so gosh darned picky for so long that I assumed... I just..."

Crystal waved a hoof. "It's all right. I don't blame you."

Horsey clenched her jaw and jerked her head up, holding it in place rather than looking back down. "You should just tell him how you feel. I mean, you can't tell me to chase after my stallion while you just let yours walk away! So what if he likes this Iridescence mare? Why does she get to hurt him by leaving and you by coming back and everypony's just okay with it? Buck her and the trains she rode out and in on!"

Crystal and Velvet stared at her, both blinking a few times until Crystal cleared her throat. "W-well, I suppose it's more a matter of—"

"Crabapples. Whatever you're about to say is a load of crabapples." She pointed at her, eyes narrowed. "I'm not going to let you miss this opportunity after you helped me discover mine."

"Speaking of, how are things?" Velvet chimed in. She laughed nervously. "Last we saw they looked pretty good between you and Savoir!"

Horsey huffed, puffed, and grumbled, "I don't think now is the time to talk about that, given the current situation with Crystal."

Crystal quickly shook her head. "Oh, no, no, no. I'm more than fine with the change of topic."

"Temporary change," Horsey corrected before she smiled. "Well, if you really want to know—"

"We do!" They leaned in, wide-eyed and grinning.

"I do have some pretty exciting Hearts and Hooves Day news." She tapped her hooves together. "You know Savoir and his brother are originally from Prance, right?" When they nodded, she continued, "Their family still lives there, and..." She took a deep breath and said in one rapid fire stream, "His parents want to meet me so I'm going with him to Maris, Prance, for the holiday."

Both mares exclaimed "What!?" in different ways: Velvet with a squeal, and Crystal with exasperation. Horsey glanced between the two very opposite expressions facing her.

Velvet pushed against Crystal to knock the mare over and distract her. "Don't mind her, she's just so totally jealous!"

"Envious," Crystal muttered, straightening back up. "I'm envious."

"Tomato, so-same-o." She rolled her eyes and returned her gaze to Horsey. "You're going to Prance for Hearts and Hooves Day?!"

Horsey nodded. "I mean, it's mostly to spend time with his family, so it may be a disaster if they don't like me." She looked down at the floor and sighed. "I'm actually more nervous than excited, if I have to be honest."

"Don't be." Velvet reached out and bopped her on the head. "I think they'll just be happy Savoir found someone at his age."

Horsey raised her brow. "He's not that old, you know."

"Old or really old, my point still stands." Velvet grinned.

"Uh-huh..." Horsey blinked and dropped her gaze to the messy floor. "So, anyway, what's this all about?" She gestured vaguely around them.

"Oh. Crystal's trying to write a story about the changeling attack. It's going really, really well."

"I can see that." Horsey shifted to switch which leg was crossed over which. "Um, so, is that going to be your next story?"

Crystal shrugged. Her magic lit up and started to gather up the paper balls into a neater pile. "I don't think so. Not at this rate, anyway."

Horsey opened her mouth, then hesitated, slowly closing it. She bit her lower lip and finally said, "I think it's a good idea. You two hardly talked about it when Sav and I visited. I mean, the newspapers focused on what happened to the wedding, and I haven't heard much beyond what little you told me already..."

"See? I'm not the only pony interested!" Velvet pointed triumphantly at Horsey, looking at Crystal. "That's two out of two ponies that matter, so write already!"

Crystal sucked in a breath through her teeth, then slowly released it as a sigh. "Okay." She straightened up. "It's been two months, but I remember it clearly... too clearly, sometimes." Her vision became unfocused as memories overtook her, albeit briefly.

Beside her, Velvet picked up the quill and started to scribble some words down.

"Everything was perfectly normal," Crystal continued, "and then it just suddenly wasn't. It..."

Horsey listened intently while Velvet continued to write. By the time Crystal finished recounting what happened, she took notice that Velvet had written a significant amount, and leaned over to peer at one of the pages.

"Velvet?" Crystal asked.

"Yup?"

"Why did you write down everything I said?" Her brow furrowed.

Velvet beamed at her and placed the last period before setting down the quill. "I'm just helping out. Now you have your story." She slid the pages toward the other. "And all you have to do is put your flair on it."

Crystal scanned the inked words while Horsey said, wiping her eyes, "That's nothing like what you told me before! Why did you keep all that bottled up inside? That sounds so terrifying!"

"It was," Crystal muttered. "I don't think I can turn this into a story, though."

"Maybe... don't?" Velvet looked at Horsey. "I mean, that'd make a really great article, don't you think?" When Horsey nodded, she looked back at Crystal. "There you go! Just spruce that up and submit it as an interest piece. I'm sure Sunset could work something out."

Crystal slowly started to smile. The quill lifted up, wrapped in her magic, and made several marks on Velvet's notes. "It could work," she finally said and continued to write while Velvet and Horsey caught up on other recent events.

"Oh, there is one piece of news on our end," Velvet said, smiling. "I actually haven't even told Crystal yet 'cause I wanted to tell the both of you together."

Crystal looked up. "Huh?"

Velvet puffed out her chest. "Somepony finally made it into the corps!"

Crystal squealed and sprung to her hooves. "Oh my gosh! Velvet, that's wonderful!" She threw her forelegs around the other.

Horsey clapped, but tilted her head. "Um, what is the corps, exactly?"

"It's not a huge deal, but it's big enough." Velvet giggled, leaning around Crystal to look at the other. "I have a regular spot in the company, and I get to go on the next trip. It's only a weekend, but I'll be going to Las Pegasus!"

"We have to celebrate!" Crystal squealed again. "Huge deal or big deal, it's a deal enough for celebrating!"

Horsey giggled. "How about I treat the both of you to dinner?"

"Deal!" Velvet grinned and slipped out of Crystal's embrace to trot to the door, the other two following after her.

---

Crystal hummed to herself as she trotted down the street and toward the post office. "Hello!" she called when she walked inside. "Oh! Hi, Zerox!"

Zerox looked up from the counter. His mane was tied back to expose his whole face, which lit up with a smile. "Hey, Crystal. Been a while."

"Oh, you know how it is." She giggled. "I need a copy of this made and sent to Manehattan. The usual address, please." She set the stack on the counter and slid it toward him. "So, how is the band?"

"Really good. Actually, really, really good." His horn lit up and started to transpose the writing onto blank sheets. "We're one of the opening gigs for the Pony Rocks show." He looked up at her, his eyes flashing green as his spell completed. "I can get you tickets, if you want."

Crystal tapped her chin. "That's on Hearts and Hooves Day, isn't it?" He nodded and she shook her head. "I might not be able to make it... but! I do have a friend that might be really interested in going. How much for two tickets?"

"Do you really have to ask? After what you did for me, nothing. Just wait right here." He disappeared into the back room, then returned a moment later with a small envelope. "Here you go. Two tickets. They're not great seats, but—"

"That's more than I need." She accepted the envelope and tucked it into her saddlebag, along with the original article. "Thank you!"

Zerox smiled. "No problem. I'll get this in the mail for you. Thanks again, Crystal... I mean it."

"I'm just glad you're happy! Have a great day, Zerox!" She waved before trotting out of the building and back onto the street, this time heading in the direction of the castle.

On her way there, her ear twitched at an odd sound, but she paid it otherwise no mind; her focus was on the task at hoof. The sound was a crackling, rattling sound, like a cart with a broken wheel, which was exactly what it was. It was also a broken-wheeled cart that had fled its owner.

As the sound grew closer, she finally acknowledged it with a casual glance, which turned into a second, wide-eyed stare. A cry of surprise escaped her but her body otherwise didn't react, instead seizing up and keeping her right in the oncoming cart's path.

A flash of gold armor and white coat blocked her vision as a pegasus stallion jumped in front of her. He put his weight onto his front legs and prepared a mighty buck, which broke the cart in two. He dropped back down onto all fours and jerked his gaze toward Crystal, his eyes full of concern.

"Are you okay?" he asked in a surprisingly tentative voice for all of his bravado.

"Muh?" Crystal replied dumbly, blinking. "Muh—muh—ahh!" Her body finally rushed with adrenaline and she hopped from hoof to hoof. "What just happened?!"

The guard put a hoof on her shoulder. "It's okay, ma'am, just take a deep breath." She did so and he continued, "A cart got away from its owner. That's all. You're fine."

She swallowed. "Right. Obviously. I'm alive, so I must be. Thank you so much, you..." Her gaze fell and she gasped, pointing at his hind leg. "... you're injured!"

"Huh? I—" He blinked when he looked at the leg in question. "Oh, I guess you're right, but it's just a scratch." A small laugh escaped him and his wings twitched just slightly, drawing her attention to the metal braces that kept them sturdy. "I've had worse."

Crystal gaped, having no response as she looked between the scratch and the braces. Finally, she shook her head. "Nonetheless, you need to have that treated, else it might get infected."

"How about I escort you where you're going to make sure you don't get accosted by any more carts, and then I'll get it patched up?" He smiled.

Crystal scrunched up her face to complain, but before she could he mirrored the expression. They stared at one another until his determination won out over hers when she sputtered into laughter and started to walk forward.

"Why don't you go get patched up and I'll escort myself? After all, how many runaway carts in Canterlot can there be in one day?"

The guard trotted after her. "One can never be too careful. So where are we headed?"

She glanced up at him, then at the road ahead. "To the castle."

"Oh." He fell into step beside her and they walked in silence before he said, "I'm Astral Bolt, by the way."

Her ears shot straight up in surprise. "How rude of me! Crystal Wishes. Thank you, again, for saving me, but I really don't need an escort. I don't want you to get in trouble for leaving your post."

Astral shrugged. "I don't think they'll mind."

Crystal mused on this for a moment before she smiled. "They absolutely won't when I fill out a comment card explaining the situation!"

"Huh? You don't have to do that..." He rubbed the back of his neck. "But I won't say no, since it helps me out. I'm actually going to be trying out for the House Guard, since I heard there were some openings."

"Then that settles it." She glanced at his hind leg. The small cut had already stopped bleeding, and had barely bled at all to begin with. This gave her some peace and the tension in her muscles eased. "I hope you get in, by the way. The House Guard is a good bunch."

Astral tilted his head to look at her sideways. "Yeah?"

Crystal smiled up at him. "Oh, yes. I'm on my way there to talk to one of Princess Luna's House Guards, in fact." She almost purred as she added, "Two, if I'm lucky." Astral blinked at her in what seemed like disbelief and she laughed, lifting her pass out of her saddlebags and putting it over her head. "See?"

"Wow." He smiled halfway. "That's kind of cool. Well, if you do fill out a comment card, thanks." He stopped when they reached the gates that led into the castle's courtyard. "Have a cart-free day, Crystal Wishes."

"You, too! Don't forget to hold up your end of the bargain and get that wound treated!"

He chuckled, nodded, and waved her off. She hummed to herself as she trotted up to the doors and was let inside, where she made her way directly to Luna's wing.

"Hello!" she chirped to the first House Guard she came across. "Where is Miley today, Flash?"

Lightning Flash moved his head just enough to acknowledge her. "Outside the Princess's personal chambers, ma'am."

"Thanks!" She navigated the corridors until she spied the little mare standing straight and tall. "Hi, Miley!"

Miley's face lit up but she quickly regained her composure, overdoing it with an expression almost like a scowl. "Good afternoon, ma'am."

Crystal giggled and levitated the envelope from her bags. "I heard that a certain somepony is trying to get closer to a certain alchemist."

Miley looked between her and the envelope with wide eyes. "Um..."

Crystal produced the tickets and fanned herself with them. "If only that certain somepony would speak up, then I'd know who to give these tickets to."

Miley swallowed. "Tickets to what?"

"Oh, the Pony Rocks show on Hearts and Hooves Day. Some ponies might not consider that a very romantic getaway, but given that our alchemist is eccentric, and—"

"I'll take them!" Miley said, hopping as if trying to snatch the tickets right out of the air. "Please, please, please!"

Crystal laughed and floated the tickets back into the envelope, then offered it to her. "Have fun, all right?" She winked. "So, anyway, is Sergeant Knight working today?" She glanced at the door between her and Luna's chambers.

"Yup! He's at the desk, like usual." She turned. "I'll let you in!"

"Thanks, Miley." Her heart skipped a few beats when the door opened and cool air rushed out into the hall like a gentle breeze.

There, in her line of sight, he sat. His ear twitched at the door opening first before he looked up and smiled.

"Sergeant," Miley said, straightening to attention. "Miss Wishes is here to see you."

"Me?" His smile fell into a light, confused frown and he stood. "What can I do for you, Crystal Wishes?"

Oh, the many, many answers that flashed through her mind at the question. She giggled and looked up at him. Her mouth opened to speak, but no words came out. Instead, all of her mental gears ground to a halt at the sudden realization that the lighting in Luna's chambers was perfect. At that angle, her eyes had to be glimmering in the light.

Silent Knight waited expectantly, but patiently. If he noticed the sparkle in her eyes, he didn't make it clear.

Her mouth snapped shut and she tilted her head to one side in an attempt to cancel the glimmering effect, but she still felt the light against her eyes. He followed her motion after a moment, tilting his head as well. Her brow furrowed briefly and she tilted her head the other way, he tilting his as well. Still no good; the glimmer was persistent.

"... Miss Wishes?" He blinked.

Crystal gave a quick shake of her head and smiled. "Food." The smile darkened into a frown as she cursed herself under her breath and clarified, "Have you had lunch yet?" He shook his head and she pressed, "Would you like to get some? With... me?"

This gave him a moment of pause, but he smiled and nodded. "Yes, but a lady buying me lunch doesn't seem quite right."

"Oh, who said we weren't going to split the check?" She giggled and turned to walk out into the hall, a small skip in her step and a sway in her hips. "But I suppose if you insist..."

"I do." He followed alongside her. "But I don't know any places to eat that are suitable."

"Leave that to me, sergeant." She smiled.

---

"Wow." Silent Knight stared down at his empty plate with a look of regret and longing. "Just... wow."

Crystal giggled and fluttered her eyelashes. "So my recommendation met to your satisfaction, sergeant?"

He nodded. "Absolutely. You really do know your way around Canterlot. I've lived here a long time, but I've never taken the time to get to know it. Maybe I should rectify that if they've got this kind of food so close to the castle."

"I admittedly have an advantage, given my parents' drilling." She smiled, though it was less heartfelt than the others she had flashed over the course of their lunch.

He blinked, lifting his head from his plate to look at her. "Drilling? I didn't know your parents were military."

"What? Oh, no, no." She laughed behind a hoof. "They're not military, but they're very serious about the best places to go and the important ponies to know. In a way, it's similar, but instead of combat training it's social graces."

"I think I understand." He straightened up. "Did you enjoy game night on Hearth's Warming?" She nodded and he continued, "We're having another get-together tomorrow evening, if you and Velvet Step would like to come."

Crystal's ear flicked and she smiled. "I'll ask Velvet, but at the least, I'll most certainly be there."

"Great." He picked up his helmet, set it on his head, and stood up. "Thank you for lunch, Crystal Wishes. I'll see you tomorrow night in Princess Luna's chambers." He nodded and left to go pay at the counter.

Crystal watched him leave with a small smile, resting her chin on one hoof. Once he was out of sight, she turned her gaze to the window to watch the day go by. It was a lazy afternoon, but a small kerfuffle nearby caught her eye. A mare and a stallion were walking hoof-in-hoof down the sidewalk, gazing lovingly at one another, when a third pony zipped past them on a skateboard. As he passed them he kicked a leg into a puddle to splash them with the water.

"Teenagers," a voice said from beside her. "They have no respect these days, the rapscallions."

Crystal looked up to see a sage pegasus standing there, holding a tray with a teacup on it. She frowned. "Hi, Rossby."

Rossby raised one brow to acknowledge her greeting, then looked back out the window. "They grow out of it, you know."

"Who grows out of what?" She followed his gaze to watch the skateboard-bound pony laughing as he sped away from the upset pair.

"Teenagers and their lack of respect. It's just a stupid phase." He set the cup down in front of her. "But they'll grow up, so you can't hold it against them... forever, I guess? Anyway, here's your tea."

Crystal looked between the cup and the pegasus. Slowly, she smiled. "I didn't order any tea."

Rossby shrugged. "You were probably going to. You're not known here for spontaneity."

"I suppose..." She leaned back into her seat and folded her forelegs across her chest. "I have a question for you, Rossby."

"And I have an answer for you, customer."

She stared at him through narrowed eyes. "Why are you working at everywhere I go?"

"Why are you going at everywhere I work?" he retorted in a sarcastic mirror of her question. When she stumbled to reply, he shrugged and said before he turned to leave, "Have a nice day."

Crystal sighed and, after a brief moment of thought, she called after him, "I forgive you!"

His ear twitched, but he kept walking away. She laughed quietly to herself and took a sip of the tea, returning her gaze to the world outside the cafe.

---

Velvet grabbed Crystal's hoof and tugged on it to stop her from taking another step. Crystal looked at her, head tilted.

"What's wrong?"

Velvet shook her head. "I don't think I can do this."

"Why not? You came with me to game night last time."

"Yeah, and last time I made a total fool of myself in front of Princess Luna." Velvet swallowed. "What if I do that again? Or something worse?"

Crystal laughed and returned the tug to force Velvet forward. "Oh, come on. I already told them to expect you, so it would be rude if you duck out now."

Velvet shook her head again, this time with more panic. "Tell them I got sick! Or twisted an ankle! Dancers twist their ankles all the time. It's completely believable."

Crystal tugged again, this time with more force. "It will be fine, I promise!"

Velvet struggled once more but, with a heavy sigh, relented. She allowed herself to be led the rest of the way down the hall and to Luna's chambers. Crystal opened the door and when they walked inside, they were greeted by several cheerful voices. The rest of the group had already arrived and were in the middle of pre-game setup.

"Huzzah! Crystal Wishes and Velvet Step have arrived!" Luna called from the opposite side of the table. She sat while the others organized the various cards and game components for the evening's selections. "Now game night can officially commence!" She gestured to the empty seat beside her. "Velvet Step, we would like for thou to sit beside us once again. Thou wert our good luck charm on the eve of Hearth's Warming!"

Velvet squeaked and looked to Crystal, who simply smiled and nudged her forward. Velvet put on her best smile as she walked around the table to take the seat next to Luna.

"Worry not, Velvet Step," Luna said, smiling down at her. "We have picked games that will be more to thy liking. We understand that thou didst not like the Dungeons and Diamond Dogs game."

Crystal took the remaining seat, which was across from the very uncomfortable-looking Velvet.

"Tonight, we play Timberwolf!" Luna exclaimed and the cards were dealt.

"For the first round," Silent Knight explained, "there are only timberwolves and townsponies. To keep it simple. Look at your card to see what you are. We will then 'go to sleep' by closing our eyes. Any timberwolves will open theirs to see who else is a timberwolf, then close them again and we all wake up. We will have five minutes"—he gestured at a small hourglass resting in the middle of the table—"to determine who is a townspony and who is a timberwolf."

Velvet nodded, but her wide eyes showed she didn't understand. She followed suit with the others by looking at her card, then at Crystal in panic. Crystal smiled reassuringly at her, then looked at her own card. Townspony.

"And now we sleep," Luna said, her voice suddenly calm and soothing. Once all of them had closed their eyes, she said, "Timberwolves, awaken."

A moment passed before Luna said, "Timberwolves, to sleep... Everypony, awaken."

Two rounds later, Velvet still looked befuddled. Her brow never leaved the furrowed position and every time she had to speak, she just shook her head and said she was a townspony.

Finally, Velvet admitted, "I still don't think I understand the point of this game."

"If you're a townspony, you want to figure out who the timberwolves are," Crystal explained. "And if you're a timberwolf, you want to make a townspony look suspicious so they get picked instead of you."

"Exactly!" Winterspear chimed in. "As a townspony, I'm on the lookout for any suspicious behavior."

"But what's suspicious behavior?" Velvet asked, her confusion not visibly eased in the slightest. "We have all these other roles added now that I can't keep track!"

"An example of suspicious behavior would be being quiet. Like her!" Runic pointed at Iridescence. "She's been quiet this whole round. Too quiet, I say!"

Iridescence raised her hooves defensively. "What? No! I'm just quiet because I'm a boring townspony. If you want to talk about suspicious, look at Silent Knight. He's not doing any interrogating this round."

Silent Knight kept his usual stoic expression in place. "That's true, but I'm not a timberwolf. I'm a hunter, so if you kill me, I'll point at one of you, and if I'm wrong you townsponies are even more likely to lose." He looked across the table at Velvet. "I'd point at Velvet. She's feigning innocence and confusion to throw us off her trail."

Velvet gasped and looked at them all with big, pleading eyes. "What? No!"

Luna nodded. "We agree! The innocence is a deception!"

"It isn't me, I swear!" Velvet turned to Crystal for support, but at that point, the suspicion had already been cast. Crystal offered her a smile and a shrug.

The last bit of sand in the hourglass fell and Luna clapped. "It is time to vote, my ponies!"

Velvet panicked and pointed at Iridescence. Crystal pointed at Silent Knight, who pointed at Velvet along with everypony else. Velvet gave a small cry of surprise and shock before she frowned and revealed her card. She was a townspony.

Beside her, Luna cackled. "Mwuahaha!" She revealed her lupine role, as did Silent Knight. "Timberwolves win! The night is ours!" Lightning illuminated the sky outside the window and thunder bellowed after it.

Velvet disappeared under the table when their surroundings trembled. Miley, who was standing guard by the door, squealed and fell over. While most of the others laughed, Crystal slipped under the table.

"Hey." She smiled at the quivering mare. "Sorry, Luna does that sometimes."

Velvet stared at her with wide eyes. "I can't go back up there now," she whispered and jerked her head from side to side. "This is even more embarrassing than kissing Princess Luna's hoof."

"Aww, no, it isn't. Miley got scared, too."

"I don't think that's much of a comfort..." Velvet muttered, frowning.

Crystal held out her forelegs and gestured the other closer. After a moment of hesitation, Velvet crawled from her spot underneath the table over to Crystal and leaned into the offered embrace.

"There, there," Crystal cooed in a playful but soothing voice. "Is this more of a comfort?"

Velvet sighed. "Not really. Now I feel like a scaredy cat and a foal."

Crystal giggled and patted her back. "Oh, don't worry. I promise, no pony is going to say anything about it."

"Who is ready to play Canterlot Express?" Silent Knight asked as he returned to the table after helping Miley get back onto her hooves.

Every pony at the table groaned and Winterspear exclaimed, "Absolutely not! Playing a detective game with you is worse than spin the bottle with a gryphon."

Silent Knight huffed with mock offense. "I see! Fine, then. What do you suggest?"

Velvet called from her spot nestled against Crystal, "Something that's not scary, or where I can be on somepony's team! I really don't like being on my own all the time."

"What about Shadows Over Canterlot?" Runic suggested and after a general consensus, everypony returned to their seats to play.

The hours went by and Crystal was the first to break: she yawned. This prompted two of the others to yawn, and when Runic suddenly fell forward and snored, Luna raised a hoof.

"'Twould be best to bring the night to a close, we believe," Luna suggested.

"Iridescence and Winterspear, please escort Crystal Wishes and Velvet Step home," Silent said as he hoisted Runic onto his back.

Winterspear regarded him with a brow raised. "Who rolled over and made you boss?"

Silent looked at her with a blank expression. "Lieutenant Haze did, technically."

"Okay, that's true... But I don't report to you, so you'll have to owe me a favor."

Crystal cleared her throat and waved a hoof. "Don't worry about us. We can get home on our own just fine."

Silent shook his head. "I'm sure that's true, but please, humor me a little so I can have some peace of mind?"

"Oh..." Crystal hedged. She turned her head to look at Velvet. "Well, I suppose if it would give you peace of mind, then we can do that."

"Anything for Sergeant SK!" Velvet chirped.

Winterspear glanced between them, then grinned. Her ears wiggled, but her voice was even as she said, "Come along, then, ladies." She motioned to the door. "Let's get everypony home before we all turn into pumpkins."

---

With Iridescence following them, the conversation between Crystal and Velvet was kept deliberately simple.

"Did you have fun?" Crystal asked.

"Well, I don't regret going, if that's what you're asking." Velvet shrugged. "But maybe next time we don't stay out so late. I have practice in the morning."

Crystal smiled. "Gearing up for the trip?"

"Yup!" Velvet added a skip to her step. "I've never been to Las Pegasus. I hope I'll have enough time to actually see something while I'm there, but I might be too busy..."

"As long as you find time to bring me back a souvenir, I'm happy."

They laughed and returned to companionable silence, which allowed Crystal to hear the conversation behind them.

"So, how are you liking Canterlot so far?" Iridescence asked.

Winterspear paused before she replied, "It's pretty different from Cloudsdale, but I think I'm okay with that. Canterlot ponies are pretty... open."

"Oh?" Iridescence's voice raised to a playful tone. "And what does that mean?"

Winterspear laughed softly. "Well, pegasi are either weather ponies or warriors. There are exceptions, but for the most part, that's about it. Weather ponies are usually out dealing with, well, weather, and the warriors that aren't off on guard duty somewhere are busy roaming the city spouting off their parents' ideas. Which are their parents' parents' ideas, and so forth. It's a pretty rigid, old culture, really."

"I didn't know that... I think the idea of an old culture is neat." Iridescence sighed. "Canterlot's culture is so fickle. Something is cool one week and taboo the next. Living here is nothing like Manehattan at all."

Finally, they arrived at the condominium building and Crystal turned her head to the other two mares. "Thank you for escorting us home. Have a good night."

Iridescence smiled. "It's not a problem! I'll see you later!" She waved.

Just as the door was closing behind them, Crystal's ear twitched at Iridescence asking a very particular question to Winterspear: "So... do you want to get a cup of coffee?"

Once they were certainly out of any possible earshot, Crystal looked at Velvet with wide eyes. "Velvet, you don't think—"

"Oh, definitely." She nodded. "That was definitely a pick-up line." She grinned up at the other. "See? You should have let me come to the train station after all!"

Crystal's expression was muddled, somewhere between excited and confused. "I don't know if this is good news or not, honestly."

"Well, I think it's good! Anyway, let's talk about this tomorrow, okay?" She fiddled with the lock and opened the door to their condo. "I'm exhausted."

Crystal stood just inside the doorway, her lips still pursed, until she asked, "Do you want to sit with me a while?"

"Um... Sorry, but what part of exhausted implies I want to stay awake?" Velvet frowned, watching her friend walk inside and across the living room.

Crystal laughed and lifted her quill, levitating a parchment over while she nestled onto a pillow. "Nothing, but I just thought I'd offer, since I think I finally know what I'm going to write."

Velvet's ears perked up and she pranced over. Though her eyes were still tired, her voice was full of cheer as she said, "Offer accepted! What is it going to be about?"

Crystal smiled softly. The quill danced across the paper, putting her thoughts into words with flourishing sweeps and curves. "A tale about a mare and a stallion both trapped in an unrequited love, she for him and he for another..."

"Sounds pretty depressing," Velvet mused.

"I suppose it depends on whether or not she can capture him with Her Silent Love."

Author's Note:

Companion Memoirs Chapter: Game Night

Wow! 50 chapters?! I honestly never expected to get this far. It's all thanks to you folks, though. Without your kind words and readership I probably would have petered out long ago! :heart:

If you enjoy the story so far, please consider taking a look at Anzel and my's website QuillnBlade.com for extra content such as mini stories, an Ask Us form, and rewards for those who support our Patreon.

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